Adams County the latest with CWD-positive deer

Madison — A 31⁄2-year-old buck from Adams County, shot by a bowhunter Nov. 7, has tested positive for CWD, a first for that county. 

The deer, which was volunteered for disease sampling by the hunter, was verified positive for the disease Dec. 7. To date, the Wisconsin DNR has collected 72 deer tissue samples in the area through voluntary efforts and will continue to collect samples through the end of the late archery hunt.

“Being the first CWD-positive in the county makes this noteworthy, but (the discovery is) not unexpected,” said Kris Johansen, DNR area wildlife supervisor. “We have been collecting samples in the county for some time, given its proximity to the south-central Wisconsin core area of infection and proximity to CWD-positive deer on a former captive deer farm in (Portage County).”

The DNR has been using a “weighted” testing strategy outside of the CWD Management Zone by focusing on older bucks because they’re more likely to carry the disease. This sampling strategy increases the probability of early detection.

The CWD-positive deer was shot 38 miles north of the nearest known positive CWD result in north-central Adams County, south of Lake Arrowhead and east of the Petenwell Flowage.

Jennifer Pelej, a public affairs manager for the DNR, said baiting and feeding already were illegal in the county.

“A ban on baiting and feeding was already in place because it was within 10 miles of Buckhorn Flats (a former deer farm in Portage County now owned by the state), which had positives previously when it was a captive deer farm,” she said.  “Surrounding counties are already included in the ban, so there won’t be any county (baiting and feeding ban) additions at this time.”

On Nov. 18, a 21⁄2-year-old buck tested positive for the disease in Grant County.

“It’s disappointing but not unexpected to have a CWD-positive outside the current zone boundary,” said Don Bates, area wildlife supervisor. “This is why we have focused surveillance around the fringes of the CWD Management Zone, to better understand the distribution of the disease and identify the presence of the disease in periphery areas.”

The CWD-positive 8-point buck was shot near the center of the county in Little Grant Township, about 61⁄2 miles west of the border of the CWD zone and about 8 miles from the nearest positive. The deer was shot by a young hunter on the Sunday of opening weekend of the gun deer season. It was a healthy-looking buck showing no symptoms of CWD. The buck was shot about 17 miles from the Mississippi River and 18 miles from Dubuque County, Iowa.
As of last week, the DNR was still awaiting results on about half of approximately 150 samples taken from the Grant County area, Bates said.

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